IN THE NEWS

Walking and exercise might help those who experience chronic pain due to arthritis and other conditions. According to NPR, taking brisk walks builds up the stabilizing muscles surrounding joints and increases cartilage lubrication. “Movement is essential for nutrition of the cartilage,” said Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus, a professor at Duke University’s Molecular Physiology Institute who serves on the research and medical committees of the Arthritis Foundation. “Cartilage doesn’t have a blood supply but does have living cells. So the way it gets nutrition is by dynamic motion.” Though counterintuitive, using one’s joints might help slow degradation of the cartilage.

Exercise might also affect the brain, allowing it to lower the pain people experience. “Exercise engages the endogenous opioid system,” said Benedict Kolber, a neuroscientist with Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, “so our bodies make opioids and use these opioids to decrease pain.”

These natural and nonaddictive painkillers, which can produce feelings of euphoria, have long been referred to as a “runner’s high.”

In addition, exercise reduces stress, which can affect a person’s sensitivity to pain. The resulting self-confidence and better sleep can also help.

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STUDY SAYS

Meatless diets more prone strokes

A study featured in The BMJ, found lower rates of ischaemic heart disease among vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians compared to meat eaters, but higher rates of stroke. During the EPIC-Oxford study, which followed 48,188 over 18 years, discovered fish eaters and vegetarians had 13% and 22% lower rates of ischaemic heart disease than meat eaters, respectively. Vegetarians, however, had 20% higher rates of stroke than meat eaters.

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HEALTHY LIVING

Help your gut help you

Bowel health is determined by the gut’s microbiome and problems can arise if one does not care for it. According to The Guardian, a diet high in salt, saturated fat and red meat can lead to increased risk of inflammatory diseases. Fiber, however, can help. Bacteria in the gut breaks down fiber into substances with anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing stress, which releases neurotransmitters that cause gut inflammation, can also improve gut health. Additionally, antibiotics kill much of this beneficial bacteria. Avoiding antibiotics unless necessary, therefore, will help maintain a healthy balance.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

169 million: According to the CDC, vaccine manufacturers have projected that they will supply as many as 169 million doses of influenza vaccine for the 2019-20 season.

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